By Michael Place
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's Gremio have been excluded from the Copa do Brasil after their fans racially abused a rival player.
Gremio are expected to appeal the ruling, which was handed down by Brazil's Superior Court of Sporting Justice on Wednesday.
The court's disciplinary commission also fined Gremio 22,000 US dollars.
It is the first time a Brazilian club has been excluded from an official competition for racism offenses. The decision came six days after Santos goalkeeper Aranha was the target of racist taunts during their quarterfinal first leg against Gremio in Porto Alegre.
Gremio, which lost the match 2-0, later banned five fans amid an investigation by police and public prosecutors.
The case is the latest in a growing list of racism episodes involving South American football fans.
In February former Brazil international midfielder Tinga was the target of monkey chants during a Copa Libertadores match between Cruzeiro and Real Garcilaso in Peru.
A month later, Santos midfielder Arouca was the victim of racial abuse during his team's Sao Paulo state league match against Mogi Mirim.
Racist chants were also directed at referee Marcio Chagas da Silva during the Rio de Janeiro state championship match between Esportivo and Veranopolis in March.